Delays Expected: Stranger Things’ Quickly Recasts Main Character After Completing Final Season Filming

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Two young adults, a woman with short black hair wearing a turquoise jacket and a man in a checkered shirt, look intensely out of a car window with anxious expressions.

Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things 5 news is starting off with a bang as a major recast has just been announced.

If you own Netflix or have stolen the password from a friend or family member in the past, you have likely either watched or scrolled past Stranger Things. The Duffer brothers show, which was initially turned down by multiple production houses for its child-led cast (many wanted Jim Hopper to be the central character of the show) did not have massive expectations, but took the world by storm.

stranger things
Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things has been credited to being one of the most financially viable shows on the streaming platform, responsible for a ton of new or returning subscribers each time a season debuts. Season 4 of the show actually garnered 1.15 billion hours of watch time in the first 28 days. That made Stranger Things the top show on Netflix when it came to English-speaking programs. Above it, outside the Upside Down, sits Squid Game at 2.1 billion hours, which is equivalent to about 239,700 years.

Wednesday did set a new record for the highest number of hours viewed in a single week of any Netflix TV show in its first season, which debuted the same year of Stranger Things 4 (2022).

Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

The Addams Family spinoff series has achieved an unprecedented 341.2 million hours viewed, despite its recent debut. This surpasses the previous record held by Season 4 of Stranger Things, which garnered 301.3 million hours viewed in its first week.

“Being an outcast has never been more IN as Wednesday, the supernatural-infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years at Nevermore Academy, debuted in the #1 spot with a record-breaking 341.2m hours viewed,” shared Netflix in a statement. The series now holds the record for the most hours viewed in a week for an English-language TV series on Netflix.

Starring Jenna Ortega as Wednesday with an impressive cast of characters and directed and executive produced by Tim Burton, with showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar, the series was #1 in 83 countries – tied with Stranger Things 4.”

Despite not being at the tip top of the leaderboard, Stranger Things has more viewership overall, with four seasons of captivating storytelling, reeling audiences in time and time again, which is why the fifth and final season is such a big deal.

As we mentioned, the cast is flooded with kids whom we have watched grow up with each passing season, making them a pivotal part of the show.

The cast of Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

The main cast of Stranger Things features a diverse ensemble of characters who play pivotal roles in the unfolding mysteries of Hawkins, Indiana. Winona Ryder portrays Joyce Byers, a determined mother searching for her missing son, Will Byers, while David Harbour embodies Chief Jim Hopper, the town’s stalwart police chief. Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin portray the group of friends at the center of the story, with Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Brown as Eleven, Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, and McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair.

Natalia Dyer portrays Nancy Wheeler, Mike’s older sister, while Charlie Heaton plays Jonathan Byers, Joyce’s older son. Cara Buono appears as Karen Wheeler, the mother of Mike, Nancy, and Will. Another character who joined the cast in the later seasons but is now part of the main cast is Max Mayfield, portrayed by Sadie Sink, who brings a new dynamic to the group with her arrival in Hawkins.

Finn Wolfhard’s character Mike Wheeler not only has an older sister in Nancy, but a younger sister who has also grown up throughout the course of the show, named Holly Wheeler.

In Stranger Things, Holly Wheeler is the youngest child of the Wheeler family, the daughter of Karen and Ted Wheeler, and the sister of Nancy, Mike, and Will Wheeler. Initially, she was portrayed by twins Anniston and Tinsley Price in the series. Now, a recast has happened and Nell Fisher will be taking over the role, as per Stranger Things Spoilers.

Nell Fisher, who recently starred in Red Dead Evil, is rumored to be joining the cast of #StrangerThings5 as the new recast of Holly Wheeler!

We do know that there will be a time jump to combat the amount of time that has passed between season 4 ending and season 5 filming. Right now, season 5 is filming and will continue to do so through to January but it has been over two years since the Stranger Things set was back in action, and with so much of the cast transitioning from teenagers to adults, the are growing and physically changing at a rapid pace.

With so much physical change, it did not make sense to keep the timeline the same, so Netflix has confirmed the season will start with a time jump to account for that.

As The Hollywood Reporter stated, “Season five is almost certainly going to have a time jump, considering the actors who play the kids are all approaching (or already in) their 20s, despite technically still being in high school in the Stranger Things world. “I’m sure we will do a time jump,” Ross told TVLine in June 2022. “Ideally, we’d have shot [seasons four and five] back to back, but there was just no feasible way to do that. So these are all discussions we’re going to have with our writers when we start the room up.”

Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) sitting on his bed in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

It appears that Holly will be doing a time jump, too, as the Red Dead Evil star will join the cast. With a more experienced child actor stepping into the role, it is possible and hints that Holly’s character will hold a stronger presence in the upcoming season. We have seen siblings such as Erica Sinclair join the main group, and with everything taking place in Hawkins for the final season, it would not be too shocking to see.

This recast comes at an interesting time, however, as the show has now been filming for months, which may mean reshoots were needed. 

She is not the only “re-cast” that we have discussed, as Linda Hamilton from Terminator has been cast as Eleven. While Damsel star Millie Bobby Brown is also returning to the role, it seems that we will see Eleven in the future during season 5.

These time jumps will be an interesting point of the story to the storyline. As season 4 concludes with an apparent urgent situation, there’s speculation that Hawkins might be entirely evacuated. Meanwhile, as Vecna regains strength, Will Byers, with his unique connection to Vecna, might be drawn back into the conflict within his mind. This scenario could compel the group to return to what may now be a rundown town for their ultimate showdown.

Eleven looking upset in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Right now, Stranger Things will wrap in December 2024, which means a 2025 season debut is likely, as things were pushed back due to the SAG/AFTRA strike. We know this as co-creators and co-showrunners Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, known as the Duffer brothers, tweeted a statement on the account for the Netflix show’s writers’ room.

“Duffers here. Writing does not stop when filming begins,” the tweet reads. “While we’re excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike,” the Duffers wrote. “We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work. Until then — over and out. #wgastrong.”

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike on May 2, 2023, to seek better compensation and other concessions from studios and streaming companies. The studios and writers reached a deal that ended their strike on September 26. The union valued the deal at over a billion dollars.

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